Mariners Honor Memory of Chief Cook Scipio

May 2010

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Seafarers and officers on the Seabulk Trader recently conducted a burial at sea for Chief Cook Cecil Scipio.

Brother Scipio died Jan. 8 after a brief battle with cancer. He was 58 years old and just a few weeks short of his birthday. A Seafarer for approximately 10 years, his most recent vessel was the APL Balboa.

Capt. Thomas M. Liebsch of the Seabulk Trader described the at-sea memorial in a letter to Brother Scipio’s family – a message that also included deepest sympathies. According to the letter, the service was performed March 6 while the vessel was underway from Port Everglades, Fla., to Galveston, Texas.

“At 1830 EST, shortly before sunset in the Gulf of Mexico, the vessel was stopped under clear skies, light north-northeasterly winds and slight seas,” the captain wrote. “We had waited for the weather to improve and could not have asked for more ideal conditions.”

Liebsch said that 18 mariners gathered in attendance on the vessel’s stern. Brother Scipio’s cremated remains “were placed in a small box on a board extending off the stern, covered by an American flag. The Ensign was at half mast…. I read a brief statement followed by the Catholic Prayer for Burial at Sea. Our chief cook, Ms. Sedell Mitchell-Reynolds, impressed everyone with a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Mr. Scipio’s ashes were then scattered into the water off the stern at 1840 EST. The American flag was folded by Bosun Robert Coleman and Third Mate Stjuart Bicaj, concluding the ceremony. Afterwards, the bosun and AB Cristopher Sanchez rang the ship’s bell on the bow three times.”

The captain added that although he and his crew did not know Brother Scipio, “as sailors we felt a connection and a strong desire to see his wishes fulfilled. I was impressed by and grateful to the SIU crew members for their preparation in the ceremony. Their efforts and professionalism made for a dignified and respectful service.”

The following SIU members attended the ceremony: Bosun Coleman, ABs Sanchez, Melvin Smalls, Carlos Colon, Leroyal Hester and Virgilio Rosalas, Chief Pumpman Eron Hall, Second Pumpman Donald McBride Jr., OMU Steve Tate, DEU Natividad Martinez-Rivas, Recertified Steward Abraham Martinez, Chief Cook Mitchell-Reynolds and SA Julio Bernardez.

Also participating were the following members of the Seafarers-affiliated American Maritime Officers: Capt. Liebsch, Chief Engineer Rex Kelley, Chief Mate Yan Durafourt, 2nd Engineer Robert Hinkle and 3rd Mate Bicaj.

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Brother Scipio's cremated remains are scattered in the Gulf of Mexico

Brother Scipio's cremated remains are scattered in the Gulf of Mexico.